The Box.com data debacle part deux: Am I a total idiot, or what?

Some readers say I should have known better than to use a cloud service to store and share files. Here's what I have to say about that.

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Well, that certainly struck a nerve.

My post two days ago about how Box.com gave total control over my account to someone I didn’t know, who then deleted it without my knowledge, inspired an amazing reaction across the InterWebs. It was tweeted more than 1200 times. It sparked discussions on Slashdot and Reddit. Harry McCracken at Time and Reuters’ Felix Salmon both wrote about it.

An hour after the story posted, I received an apologetic email from Aaron Levie, the 28-year-old CEO of Box, which read in part:

I've been following along with the issue you ran into to ensure we had all hands on deck to resolve the matter. I know at times in the process things were not as quick or clear as possible, and I'm very sorry about that; there was a lot on our end we were having to piece together given we hadn't seen this before.

Further, we've reviewed our internal practices in the process, and while we have many security and privacy practices to prevent these accidents, we have taken additional measures so an event like this does not happen ever again.

I hope that we're in a much better state now with the recovery. If you choose to trust us going forward, we've upgraded your account to premium as well.

(As an aside, I interviewed Aaron three years ago for a story I wrote about young geeks vs old geeks for InfoWorld. Smart guy.)

Mainly, though, the reaction revealed how wary people are of the cloud and its implications – a wariness, as my story illustrates, that is not entirely unjustified.

The overwhelming majority of responses have been sympathetic and supportive. Still, more than a few readers volunteered their reasons as to why I am an idiot and thus had it coming. I’d like to address the major ones below.

1. I am an idiot because I store data in the cloud

There are people whose mistrust of the cloud runs so deep they reject it entirely (and yet, they seem to spend most of their free time on the Internet – explain that one to me). To these folks, the only way to be fully secure is to store your data on a magneto-optical drive in your grandmother’s root cellar, or possibly on 5.25-inch floppies in Al Capone’s vault.

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